Italy’s Meloni to Run in European Election, Leading Party’s List

(Bloomberg) -- Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni has put her name forward for the European election, leading her party lists — a common move for Italian politicians who seek to bolster party results in mid-mandate elections.

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Meloni, who has been premier since 2022, said the election was a “historic chance” during a speech in Pescara, Italy, where her party Brothers of Italy is meeting this weekend. “I have decided to take the field to lead party lists in all constituencies,” she added.

The decision comes in stark contrast with that of opposition leader Elly Schlein, who despite running for the election, opted not to include her name on the party’s symbol in the ballot, after clashing with senior leaders of the Democratic Party.

Meloni’s move to run for the European parliament is symbolic — if elected, she would not relinquish her post as prime minister in Rome, transferring instead her votes to the next Brothers of Italy candidate in line for a seat in the European parliament. It is also an unusual move, compared with other European leaders.

Her announcement capped an hourlong speech that addressed both what she said had been the party’s achievements and its objectives for the future, in both domestic and foreign policy. She also touted the potential of creating a centre-right majority in the European Parliament — “a difficult but not impossible task.”

Transport minister and League leader Matteo Salvini has opted not to run in the European election at all, even if the symbol of his party carries his name. Salvini’s decision has been seen by some as a move indicating he wants to avoid a head-to-head contest with coalition partner Meloni.

EU citizens will select their new parliament in June and observers expect a hotly contested election campaign. A change in the balance of power between coalition parties in the election could significantly impact the governing coalition in Rome, even if pollsters still see Meloni’s party as leading voting intentions.

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